Genesis 17, vs. 1-8 with Betty

The Covenant of Circumcision
 1  

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,

4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.

7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:
God appeared to Abram when he was niney-nine years old.  The sight of God caused Abram to fall facedown.  
Instructing Abram to walk before him faithfully and be blameless, God established a covenant with Abram to greatly increase his numbers. Once again, he promised Abram that his descendants would be given everlasting possession of the land of Canaan where Abram then lived as a foreigner.  God promised Abram he would be the father of many nations and that his descendants would number many kings among them. Because he would be the “father of nations” God told Abram to change his name to Abraham. 
Have you noticed that God has made this same promise to Abram several times?  Did he do this because over time Abram’s faith began to weaken?
When I think about those questions I am reminded that if my own faith weakens I can always go to the Bible to read once more his promises to me.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis Chapter 16 vs. 7-16 with Betty

 7 And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

9 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.

10 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

11 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.

12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

13 And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

14 Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.

16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:
The Lord  heard of the misery of  Hagar who had run away. And “The angel of the Lord” found her  at  a spring beside the road.  There he  gave Hagar instructions to return and submit herself to her mistress.  She was promised descendants too numerous to count.  
Hagar was also told the child with whom she was pregnant would be a son and that she should call him Ishmael and that Ishmael would be a  “wild man” and his hand would be against every man and every man’s hand would be against him.  This does not seem to me to be a positive thing, regardless of the many descendants Hagar was promised, but perhaps in those days, it was  a more common way of life than I would assume.  I am excited to keep on reading.  Somewhere along the way I may discover that Ishmael became a great warrior. 
Whether Hagar was pleased with the information she received or not, she realized that she had seen God and she obeyed his instruction and returned to Sarai and Abram.
  When Hagar’s son was born, Abram gave him the name Ishmael as God had instructed at the spring. 

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 16 vs. 1-6 with Betty

Hagar and Ishmael
 1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.

6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:
When I read that Sarai, Abram’s wife could not conceive and decided to build a family by having Abram sleep with her servant, Hagar, and that Abram agreed to this, I thought it indicated that Abram still doubted the Lord’s promise to give him many offspring.  Once again in this situation humans were trying a human solution rather than waiting upon the Lord’s promises. 
Of course this caused trouble in the family.  Hagar began to think she was better than Sarai because she was able to get pregnant.  
Sarai, who had the idea in the first place, blamed Abram for following her suggestion, while Abram, although he had gone along with the idea, did not mediate the dispute.  He allowed Sarai to deal with her servant, and Sarai mistreated her so Hagar ran away.
I wonder, is there any woman of any time or place who would not have a jealous reaction if another woman became pregnant with her husband’s baby?  Would things have worked out better for Sarai and Abram if they had waited upon the Lord?  Who was really wronged here?  Was it Sarai or Hagar?  
As I’m sure in those days Hagar, a servant, was bound to follow her mistress, I think she was the one wronged. 
 

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis Chapter 15, vs. 7-19 with Betty

  7 And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.

12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:
After reminding Abram that he would be the father of a nation of countless people, God also reminded him that he brought him out of Ur to inherit the land where he settled. 
Abram asks again for reassurance of his inheritance and the Lord requests from him an offering of a heifer, goat, ram a dove and a pigeon. Adam prepared this and then went into a deep sleep. 
While he slept, the Lord spoke to Abram to tell him his descendants would be enslaved for four hundred years in a country that was not their own, but the Lord also promised that he would  punish the nation where they would be enslaved and the people would come out of that country with great riches. (It would seem this foretold the years the Hebrews would be captive in Egypt.)
  After darkness fell a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces of the offering as a sign of the covenant God made with Abram to give the land to his descendants. 
Abram himself is promised that he will die in peace at a good age.
To me it seems natural that Abram needed reassurance from time to time but he continued to follow the Lord’s instructions and earned the right to prosper.

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis Chapter 15, vs. 1-6 with Betty

God’s Covenant With Abram
 1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: 
   “Do not be afraid, Abram.     I am your shield,[a]     your very great reward.[b]” 
 2 But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 
 4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.” 
 6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. 
 

After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

2 And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

4 And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:
God came to Abram in a vision. Although Abram had been promised that his offspring would be too great to count, he questioned the Lord because the Lord had not given him any children and he had no heir. Once again the Lord promised him that he would give him offspring in a number as great as the stars in the sky.  
Abram believed the Lord. 
This reminds me of how an impatient little child keeps asking their parent for a promised reward.  The child thinks that all they long for should come at once.  The parent knows that in good time the reward will be given. The Lord knows that Abram will receive all that was promised but Abram needs to be reassured and God does not ignore the pleas.  He once again offers his promise and Abram believes.  
God has made all of us promises as well and we too must be willing to wait for the promises to be fulfilled. 

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis 14, vs. 17-24 with Betty

  17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.

22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,

23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:
In the last part of Genesis Chapter 14, Abram once more proves he is a man of God.  The King of Salem, Melchizedek, was also a priest. When Abram came back from the battle where he rescued Lot, Melchizedek came out to him. Abram gave this priest a tenth of everything he had taken in battle and the priest blessed him.
The king of Sodom asked only to have his people back and told Abram to keep all the recovered goods but Abram refused to keep anything for himself.  He had sworn before God that he would not accept anything that belonged to Sodom. 
All he would take was food for his men and the men’s share of the spoils.  He didn’t want anyone to be able to say it was Sodom that made him rich.  
I believe that Abram, as a righteous man, did not want to accept the goods associated with Sodom because it was such a sinful city. 

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis Chapter 14, vs. 1-16 with Betty

Abram Rescues Lot
 1 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

14 And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:

15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:
It is very difficult for me to follow all the names of kings and places recounted in these passages.  However, I understand that at the time Lot was living near Sodom, a number of kings fought with one another.
Among the four kings on one side of the battle was Kedorlaomer king of Elam.  (Kedorlaomer is translated as Chedorlaomer in the King James version of the bible.) This was a king who had held the other five kings subject for twelve years until they rebelled.  The five kings then fought against the other four in the Valley of Siddim.
The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were defeated and their men either fell into tar pits as they retreated or ran to the hills. Then the four victorious kings carried off all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah.  At this time, Lot was living in Sodom and the kings also carried him away along with all his possessions.
Abram heard of this and gathered an army and went in pursuit of the kings holding Lot captive and rescued Lot, recovered the goods and also the women and other people who had been taken.
Not only did Abram give Lot the choice of land when they separated, he went to battle to save him.  He was indeed very good to Lot.  

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis Chapter 13, vs. 10-18 with Betty

 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

14 And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:

15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:

Abram allowed Lot to choose where he would go and Lot chose to go to the plain of Jordan while Abram stayed in the Land of Canaan. 
The Plain of Jordan where Lot pitched his tents was near Sodom a city inhabited by sinners but Lot saw only the fertile plains and did not think to avoid the area where the sinful city was located.  
After Lot left, the Lord promised Abram all the land that surrounded him for his offspring and promised to make his offspring like the dust of the earth—far more than could ever be counted.
Abram settled at Hebron and built an altar to the Lord.  
I note as I read this that the scripture does not say that Lot did not build an altar, but it expressly says that Abram did.  In doing so, he was showing the authority of the Lord and also his thankfulness for all the Lord had already given him and had promised to him for his offspring. 

Betty Killebrew

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Genesis Chapter 13, vs. 1-9 with Betty

Abram and Lot Separate 
 1  And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.

2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.

3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;

4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had make there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.

6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:
 It says in today’s reading that Abram had a lot of possessions.  Those were the same possession Pharaoh allowed him to take when he ordered Abram to take his wife and leave Egypt. We learn here that Abram had both gold and silver and a lot of livestock. 
Lot, Abrams nephew who traveled along with him, also had many possessions.  The whole company traveled from place to place until they came to Bethel, already inhabited by Canaanites and Perizzites.
The land in the area could not support so many people and so much livestock. Abram’s and Lot’s herdsmen began to quarrel with one another.
One would think that Abram might have wished to keep Lot and all his possessions with his own people.  As the elder, he might have thought he should be the ruler over all the people.  But Abram did not seek to subdue Lot as he did not wish to quarrel with his close kinsman.
Instead, Abram wisely suggested to Lot that they go separate ways. The two communities of people and their possessions parted company. (Once again, mankind was spread across more of the earth.)
 
Betty Killebrew

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Genesis Chapter 12, vs. 10-20 with Betty

Abram in Egypt
  

10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:

12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.

13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.

16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

17 And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.

18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

K.J.V. Bible Text

My Thoughts:  
 Abram traveled to Egypt because there was a famine in the land. Like all strangers, he must have been unsure of his welcome.  He worried that the Egyptians would kill him because they would want his beautiful wife…so he told Sarai to say she was his sister. ( I am thinking here that Abram must have  forgotten  God’s promise to him to bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. Rather than relying on God to keep him safe in Egypt, Abram used a human solution.)   
 Abram’s ruse worked. Because his “sister” was so beautiful, Pharaoh took her into his own house and supplied livestock and servants to her “brother’s” household.
The Lord didn’t forget Abram however.  He brought diseases on the household of Pharaoh because of Sarai. Pharaoh learned the cause of his ill fortune was that the woman he had in his household was Abram’s wife. To rid his household of  the sickness, Pharaoh gave Sarai back to Abram and sent them both out of  Egypt, but he allowed Abram to keep all the goods he had acquired while there.
It seems to me that Abram failed in faith but the Lord kept his promise to him and intervened to get him back his destined path.  

Betty Killebrew

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